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October 9, 2009

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Getting an award in edgewise. President Obama's in the middle of a mess of conflicts -- but the Nobel committee still sees fit to award him the 2009 Peace Prize.

Ships that pass on the might. Scientists find a powerful new measurement of climate change in the logbooks of vessels from centuries gone by.

His means justify his end. An Iranian court sentences a dissident to death for his role in post-election demonstrations.

Giving himself the finger. A New Brunswick man loses his pointer -- and works to fix his digital deficit in a strictly analog fashion.

For Shaun Shienfeld, every day is Shanksgiving. And if you've lost a golf ball to a lousy swing, he would like to thank you for making him wealthy.

And...making an offer they could re-use. A new book reveals that, after "The Godfather" movies, Mafia jargon underwent a re-Brando-ing.

As It Happens, the Friday edition. Radio that takes the slang -- and leaves the cannoli.


OBAMA WINS NOBEL Duration: 00:08:04

When the Nobel committee announced that this year's Peace Prize winner would be President Barack Obama, many people were taken off guard -- including, and perhaps especially, Barack Obama.

Here is part of what he had to say today in Washington, for the record.

For the record, President Barack Obama speaking today in Washington about winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Three other American presidents have won the prize, but not before they had actually racked up some significant accomplishments. Obama is less than a year into his first mandate.

For his take on the impact the award might have, we reached Alexander Thier at the United States Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C.


RACINE D'ENNEADE Duration: 00:00:31
Album: AWARDS FOR WORLD MUSIC 2004
Label: UNION SQUARE, MANTDCD223
Persons/Roles:
MEHDI HADDAB - COMPOSER
DUOUD - FOLK GROUP

IRANIAN DEATH SENTENCE Duration: 00:06:30

First, there were the arrests. Thousands of people who took part in this summer's protests in Iran were rounded up and jailed. Then there were the show trials of prominent activists. Now, Iran has issued its first death sentence against someone accused of taking part in the demonstrations.

Yesterday, a revolutionary court condemned a little-known activist named Mohammed Reza Ali-Zamani to death.

Payam Akhavan has been monitoring these events for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre. We reached him in Montreal.


ONE Duration: 00:00:28
Album: AMPLIFIED: A DECADE OF REINVENTING THE CELLO/APOCALYPTICA
Label: ISLAND
Persons/Roles:
JAMES HETFIELD - COMPOSER
LARS ULRICH - COMPOSER
APOCALYPTICA - INSTRUMENTAL ENSEMBLE

DATELINE: GAZA ZOO Duration: 00:01:13

Dateline: Gaza.

Life has been pretty tough for the people in Gaza this year, following the war between Hamas and Israel. But you may be surprised to learn about some of the other victims of the conflict. During the war, Gaza City's zookeepers were not able to attend to their animals and due to hunger and neglect, the zoo's two zebras died. The loss of the beautiful creatures was a big blow for the cash-strapped zoo. And replacing them was out of the question. It would have cost about forty-thousand dollars to bring in new zebras.

So, as they are often forced to do in Gaza, they compromised and did the best with what they had. The zoo decided to paint two white female donkeys too look like the zebras. Masking tape, black hair dye, white paint and the steady hands of a professional painter were used to complete the illusion.

The reaction from zoo visitors has been an odd mix of delight in the absurdity and willful ignorance to fact that they are looking at two donkeys in drag.


BLESSINGS Duration: 00:00:35
Album: SLIDE TO FREEDOM 2: MAKE A BETTER WORLD/COX, DOUG
Label: NORTHERN BLUES, NBM0053
Persons/Roles:
SALIL BHATT - COMPOSER
DOUG COX - COMPOSER
SALIL BHATT - VEENA
DOUG COX - GUITAR
RAMKUMAR MISHRA - PERCUSSION
RAMKUMAR MISHRA - TABLA

HOMEMADE PROSTHETIC Duration: 00:07:30

Losing a limb or a digit is traumatic. There are physical challenges --- the pain, and the painstaking efforts to adapt to life without the absent body part. There are also psychological challenges. Depression and anxiety regularly creep up on new amputees.

Richard Roy lost his index finger this week, and he is facing those challenges. But he's also a pragmatic convalescent. He is building himself a new prosthetic finger -- using stuff he found in his garage.

We reached Mr. Roy at his home in Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, New Brunswick.


AIH PHONE THEME Duration: 00:00:30
Album: AS IT HAPPENS
Label: DEMO
Persons/Roles:
JEFF ULSTER - COMPOSER
JEFF ULSTER - PERFORMER

CLOSING

We're about to take a short break so that you can hear the news. But before we tell you what's coming up, I'm going to give you some information about last night's program. We ran an interview with two Montreal artists who have turned their fascination with potholes into a series of artworks. Today, we've got the link to their website on our Features page.

Now, back to the future. Coming up on As It Happens:

Back to the future. Scientists find logbooks from historic ships can tell us what the effects of climate change are now -- and what they'll be later.

The legacy of Mazar-E-Sharif. A Pulitzer-Prize-winning author tells us how the massacre of hundreds of Taliban soldiers eight years ago haunts the Obama Administration.

Out of sight, out of mine. A hapless crustacean moves into a piece of unexploded Second World War ordnance -- until he's forcibly evicted.

Stay tuned. I'm CO.

And I'm BB.


RETURN BILLS Duration: 00:00:50

Hello again, I'm CO.

And I'm BB. This is As It Happens, Part Two.

Coming up:

Pulling the wool over their eyes: HBC has the market on Olympic sweaters -- and the Cowichan Tribes are left out in the cold.

A farewell to Armageddon: NASA re-assures us that we will not be killed by an asteroid in 2036.

Those stories are still to come on As It Happens.


SHIP LOGS CLIMATE Duration: 00:07:14

It was as easy as falling on a log. And then another. And then a whole bunch more.

Scientists are gleaning new data about climate change from observations made centuries ago on ships. The project involves transcribing and digitizing the logbooks of those ships, and using weather observations from the logs to help reconstruct some gaps in climate history. Researchers are filling in those gaps with the help of weather reports from the voyages of Captain Cook and Charles Darwin, among many others.

Dr. Dennis Wheeler heads up the project. He's a climatologist at the University of Sunderland in England.


BORROWED NEW AND BLUE Duration: 00:00:21
Album: THREE HENS ESCAPE OBLIVION/FAFARD, JOEL
Label: CUSTOM, JFI-3
Persons/Roles:
JOEL FAFARD - COMPOSER
JOEL FAFARD - GUITAR
JOEL FAFARD - PRODUCER

E-MAIL: WILD HORSES MOVE Duration: 00:03:42

It's a drama you could call "theatre-in-the-round-up."

Last night, we spoke to American filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, about a new proposal by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The Obama Administration plans to move several thousand wild horses to government-run preserves, and to limit their reproduction.

Ms Kathrens has spent fifteen years documenting these horses. She told us yesterday that she strongly disagrees with the plans -- that, in her opinion, the horses are being "managed to extinction," for the benefit of the American cattle industry.

We received several e-mails in response to that interview, and to what Ginger Kathrens had to say.

Mae Elsinger, of Brandon, Manitoba writes:

"The guest gave the impression that 'wild horses' deserve to be on the land more than cattle. I know that, before Europeans came to North America, there were no horses --- or cattle, or course. But the guest gives the misleading implication that they are 'natural'.

"I have seen the grazing impact on vegetation and on the soil even of small herds of horses. I feel that they are no better than cattle. Ms. Kathrens' take on the wild-horse issue further vilifies the cattle industry, to the detriment of those people who put steak and hamburger on our tables."

That's from Mae Elsinger, from Brandon, Manitoba. Justin Taylor also wrote to us, from somewhere in cyberspace:

"As a son of a so-called welfare rancher, a former wildland firefighter, an economist, and a banker, I take offense at the insincere or ignorant comments of your guest.

"Cattle receive no special subsidies like other commodities -- wheat, corn, et cetera -- and the price to graze is based on a very equitable formula. I don't know a soul who has ever gotten rich raising cattle on government land. I know plenty of people who benefit from the relatively inexpensive beef that they nourish themselves with -- about a quarter which came from an animal that spent some part of its life on public land.

"If properly managed, cattle and wildlife thrive in the West much like the great herds of buffalo did for eons in the Mid-West.

"Cattle convert grass to protein and leave behind waste that enables insects, rodents, small mammals, raptors, and other large ungulates to thrive. They are the best firefighting tools available: they clean up the fuels that would otherwise result in catastrophic fires, decimate wildlife habitat, and worst of all, lead to severe soil erosion and wasteland conditions which can last for generations.

"Unlike your guest, I would have annual round-ups of feral horses and manage them like any other resource: sell some at a profit, and sell others for slaughter to support food programs in Africa and elsewhere, to keep children from starving to death.

That was an e-mail from Justin Taylor.

Thanks for your calls and your e-mails. If there's something you'd like to tell us, you can write to us at aih@cbc.ca, or you can call Talkback. The number is 1-866-481-5718.


THE WORDS Duration: 00:00:19
Album: PSAPP: THE ONLY THING I EVER WANTED
Label: DOMINO, DNO 095
Persons/Roles:
PSAPP - COMPOSER
PSAPP - WRITER
PSAPP - ENS IN-V

GOLF BALL ENTREPRENEUR Duration: 00:05:32

You line it up, get your position right, wiggle your yellow-slacks-clad behind a little, practice your stroke -- you're good to go. THWACK!

PLOP.

You're in the water¿ again¿ Your ball is hopelessly lost, and you don't give it a second thought. But perhaps you should have. Shaun Shienfield did. Today, Mr. Shienfield received the Ebay Canada Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2009 for his pursuit of millions of second thought.

Mr. Shienfield collects and sells lost golf balls. And if you want to know how he does it, let me tell you: volume. His company sells a whopping twenty million used balls to more than a quarter-million golfers every year.

We reached Shaun Shienfield at his Markham, Ontario office.


POURED ALL THAT I GOT Duration: 00:03:18
Album: THIS IS IT HERE WE GO/LOCAL RABBITS
Label: BROBDINGNAGIAN, BROB015
Persons/Roles:
PETER ELKAS - COMPOSER
PETER ELKAS - LYRICIST
BEN GUNNING - COMPOSER
RYAN MYSHRALL - COMPOSER
JASON TUSTIN - COMPOSER
DON KERR - PRODUCER
LOCAL RABBITS - POP GROUP

SC/MUSIC: LIONEL EXPLODES Duration: 00:04:28

He was sitting around at home eating clams when suddenly the strangers arrived. They stared at his house, and moved around outside it in such a way that his leisurely meal was thoroughly disturbed. Something about the house really freaked them out, which the strangers communicated through a series of eye-widenings and gesticulations. Finally, both strangers turned, almost simultaneously, and looked right at him. They looked sad, but they didn't say anything. Although they did make a sound like this:

Later, as he was being blown up, he would realize that was the moment everything went wrong.

At least, that's probably what was going through a lobster's mind this week -- along with thousands of tiny particles of a Second World War-era mine.

Two SCUBA divers found the then-undetonated German mine off the coast of Dorset, England on Tuesday -- and in the mine, they found a crustacean they dubbed "Lionel". And it seemed that Lionel had finally got the place just the way he wanted it -- because when British Navy divers went down to visit his potentially lethal, two-hundred-and-seventy kilogram home, they could not coax the lobster to leave. In fact, he indicated his reluctance by giving one of the divers a severe pinching.

But Lionel's agoraphobia couldn't trump the Navy's unexploded-ordnance phobia. Officials cleared a one-thousand metre radius around the lobster's house. And then they detonated it. And Lionel, presumably.

It's a sad story. And ironically, it all began the moment untold years ago, when Lionel was scuttling across the ocean floor, caught a glimpse of his future home, and thought to himself, "You'll be mine."


YOU'LL BE MINE Duration: 00:02:26
Album: HOWLIN' WOLF/HOWLIN' WOLF
Label: CHESS, CHD39332
Persons/Roles:
WILLIE DIXON - COMPOSER
LEONARD CHESS - PRODUCER
PHIL CHESS - PRODUCER
WILLIE DIXON - PRODUCER
HOWLIN' WOLF - VOCALS

LITTLE FLUFFY CLOUDS Duration: 00:02:26
Album: INSTRUMENTAL/ACOUSTEK
Label: BIG CHILL
Persons/Roles:
M GLOVER - COMPOSER
A PATERSON - COMPOSER
S REICH - COMPOSER
INSTRUMENTAL - STRING SEXTET

MAZAR-E-SHARIF MASSACRE Duration: 00:08:42

In late November, 2001, over a three-day period, hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Taliban soldiers who had surrendered to the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance forces were executed en masse, and their bodies dumped in a remote part of the desert. The warlord who allegedly ordered the executions, General Ahmed Rashid Dostum, is currently the military chief of staff in Hamid Karzai's government.

Nearly eight years later, the massacre looms large in U.S. President Barack Obama's dilemma in dealing with Mr. Karzai, who, by most accounts, won August's election fraudulently. It is also at the root of many of the West's problems in persuading Afghan people that it has their interests in mind.

James Risen is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, who has written extensively about the massacre. We reached him in New York.


GET OVER IT Duration: 00:00:05
Album: OK GO
Label: CAPITOL, 7243 5 33724 2
Persons/Roles:
DAMIAN, JR KULASH - COMPOSER
DAMIAN, JR KULASH - PRODUCER
OK GO - POP GROUP
HOWARD WILLING - PRODUCER

COWICHAN SWEATER Duration: 00:07:21

For nearly a century, the women of the Cowichan Tribes on southern Vancouver Island have been knitting Cowichan sweaters. The sweaters are bulky, extremely warm, and made with lanolin-rich sheep's wool -- which makes them resistant to rain. They're so well-made that each one lasts for generations.

Not long ago, it seemed that the garment would become an icon of the Vancouver Olympic Games. In 2005, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell presented an true Cowichan sweater, adorned with Olympic rings, to IOC president Jacques Rogge. But, as it turns out, that may be as close as the Cowichan Tribes get to providing official Games apparel.

Last week, the Hudson's Bay Company -- the official clothing supplier of Canadian team -- unveiled its Olympic clothing line. And HBC opted not to sell original Cowichan sweaters -- which would have retailed for two-hundred-and-fifteen bucks -- but rather, a more expensive imitation -- which will sell for three-hundred-and-fifty smackers.

Ernest Elliot is the General Manager of the Cowichan Tribes. We reached him at his office in Duncan, B.C.


MAFIA LANGUAGE Duration: 00:07:14

Ah, "The Godfather". It's one of those classic films that has provided no end of quotes to bust out when someone at the office is annoying you. And, it turns out, that's no less true if you happen to work for a criminal syndicate. Apparently, gangs around the world love to crib from "The Godfather" movies when they talk to each other.

Diego Gambetta, the author of a new book on how criminals communicate, calls it "lowlife imitating art". We reached Professor Gambetta in Oxford, England.


QUARTET N2/GROOVE MACHINE Duration: 00:00:06
Album:
Label: BLACK BOX, BBM 1097
Persons/Roles:
MARC MELLITS - COMPOSER
DUKE QUARTET - STRING QUARTET
DUKE QUARTET - PRODUCER
HARVEY BROUGH - PRODUCER
JOHN METCALFE - VIOLA
SOPHIE HARRIS - CELLO
LOUISA FULLER - VIOLIN
RICK KOSTER - VIOLIN

2036 ASTEROID STRIKE Duration: 00:02:21

On his hit record "Chances Are", Johnny Mathis once famously crooned "Chances are, you believe the stars that fill the skies are in my eyes."

That song went to Number One, and was included on his1958 album Johnny's Greatest Hits -- an album has the distinction of being the first-ever "greatest hits" collection. That record was a hit too, spending a record-setting nine-and-a-half years on the Billboard Album Chart. That lengthy stint was not eclipsed until Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon came along.

And while we're on the topic of the moon and stars and chances: if concerns about an impending asteroid strike in 2036 were keeping you awake at night -- and leaving you more depressed than a Pink Floyd album -- it's time to relax. This week, NASA released the news that, chances are, the asteroid Apophis will not collide with the Earth twenty-seven years from now.

The experts at NASA's Near Earth Object office have recalculated the path of the large asteroid, and now the probability of what NASA calls an "earth encounter" for Apophis has dropped from one in forty-five-thousand to about four in a million. But before you start high-fiving one another in relief, keep in mind that the odds of a clown in space were once about thirty-five milllion to one. And today, thanks to thirty-five million dollars, Guy Laliberté, founder of the Cirque du SoleilI, is on the International Space Station, clown nose and all, testing the limits of his fellow residents' fake smiles.

And at one time, the chances of NASA spending seventy-nine million dollars to deliberately crash a rocket and a satellite into the moon on the same day were slim to none. But that's exactly what NASA did today. The idea was to kick up enough dust for the space agency to scan, to determine whether there's water on the moon.

The mission was declared a success, and on the moon today the dust that's in the sky would fill your eyes. So as far as lunar moisture goes, chances are we're a little too wise to take a flyer on determining those odds.


ROCKET TO THE MOON Duration: 00:01:00
Album: COLIN JAMES AND THE LITTLE BIG BAND II
Label: WEA, CD 23010
Persons/Roles:
COLIN JAMES - COMPOSER
COLIN NAIRNE - COMPOSER
BRIAN CASSERLY - TRUMPET
JOE HARDY - PRODUCER
COLIN JAMES - GUITAR
COLIN JAMES - VOCALS
LITTLE BIG BAND - JAZZ GROUP
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